Stamford Bridge forms the backdrop for Wednesday’s Premier League battle of the mid-table clubs as Chelsea and Brentford slug it out, looking to return to winning ways in the west London derby.
The Blue enter the clash on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid, while their local neighbours Brentford earned a 1-1 draw against in-form Aston Villa in their last outing.
Chelsea bosses hoped Frank Lampard’s return to the Bridge would help galvanise the team following what has been a campaign to forget, but the Englishman has plunged the club further into chaos.
The defeat against Madrid ended Chelsea’s European campaign, but it also meant Lampard has now lost his opening four games in charge – the club’s worst run since 1993.
Brentford came within minutes of earning a first win in six games against Villa, but Douglas Luiz struck late to cancel Ivan Toney’s opener.
The Bees are still looking for their first win since a 2-0 success over Southampton in mid-March, and their poor form has left their European dreams in tatters.
Lampard’s immediate priority is to steer the Blues into the top half of the table as they bid to avoid their worst league finish for 27 years (11th in 1995/96).
Like their midweek opponents, it’s been a while since Chelsea last tasted success, having failed to win any of their previous seven games across all competitions (D2, L5), suffering defeat in the last four consecutive matches.
Having failed to win any of their last two meetings with Brentford (D1, L1), their chances of reversing that poor run of form against the Bees look slim.
They have also lost three of their last six league London derby matches (W1, D2) – last losing four such matches in a single campaign back in 2001/02.
Brentford’s European dream may be over, but they will fancy their chances of leaving from Stamford Bridge with maximum points.
Frank’s side have lost six of their eight away games against Chelsea in all competitions (W2), but they did come from behind to win this exact fixture 4-1 last season.
Opening the scoring seemed a good luck charm for the Bees since their return to the top flight, but they have failed to win each of the last four league games where they’ve broken the deadlock (D3, L1).
Toney gave Brentford the lead in the Villa draw, and the Bees will look to the in-form Englishman to deliver the goods once again.
The striker has scored 19 times this term and is one goal away from becoming just the second player to score 20+ top-flight goals for the Bees after Dave McCulloch in 1938.
Premier League Form
Chelsea vs Brentford Potential Line-ups
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa Arrizabalaga; Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell; N’Golo Kante, Enzo Fernandez, Mateo Kovacic; Mykhaylo Mudryk, Kai Havertz, Raheem Sterling.
Brentford (4-3-3): David Raya; Aaron Hickey, Ben Mee, Ethan Pinnock, Rico Henry; Mathias Jensen, Vitaly Janelt, Joshua Dasilva; Bryan Mbeumo, Ivan Toney, Mikkel Damsgaard.
We Say: Chelsea 1-1 Brentford
Both teams head into the derby showdown on the back of dismal form and will be eager to return to winning ways.
But like the reverse fixture six months ago, parity should be the order of the day, with both sides finding the back of the net this time around.
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